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What Is a Licensed or Certified Massage Therapist?

Individuals who meet the licensing requirements of his or her jurisdiction for massage therapy can become a licensed or certified massage therapist. Since licensing requirements vary from state to state and by localities within a state, it is highly recommended to become familiar with the regulatory requirements, which may consist of regulatory boards, educational requirements and various laws.

In general, licensed or certified massage therapists perform massage and bodywork. Their professional goal is to put the client in a relaxed state of mind and help promote good health and well being.

Many massage therapy training programs offer basic certification whereby students and practitioners may continue their education to learn additional techniques like deep tissue massage, Thai massage or acupressure.

Licensure and Certification for the Massage Therapy Professional

Each state has its own set of requirements for massage therapy licensing. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) offers two types of certifications:

  • National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB)
  • National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)

Both exams contain content in the following areas:

  • General knowledge of body systems
  • In-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology
  • Pathology
  • Assessment of therapeutic massage
  • Applications of therapeutic massage
  • Business and ethics

The exams are multi-choice. Candidates must have 500 hours of supervised instruction and graduated from an accredited school offering a massage therapy training program. Accredited schools offer curriculum and training that prepares students for either the NCETMB or the NCETM certification examinations.

Duties for Licensed or Certified Massage Therapy Professionals

Licensed or certified massage therapists work to reduce muscle pain of clients by manipulating soft tissue to improve blood circulation and eliminate waste. Patients are treated for both relaxation and muscle purposes. Licensed or certified massage therapists, as a whole, work with a wide range of clients.

Licensed or Certified Massage Therapist Careers

Many clients seek the services of a massage therapist for relaxation and comfort. Others turn to massage therapists for more in-depth work. As a result of training, experience, work ethic and favorable market conditions, licensed or certified massage therapists may work in rehabilitation clinics, doctors’ offices, fitness centers, sports organizations and more.

Glossary of Terms

NCETMB  – National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork

NCETM – National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage

MBLEx Licensing Exam – The Massage and Body Licensing Examination is governed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). It is designed to provide a standard for an entry-level scope of practice for massage therapists.

MBLEx tests - Test questions include benefits and effects of massage techniques, massage history, professional practice guidelines, and anatomy and physiology.

FSMTB – Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

FAQs About the MBLEx Exam

Q. What is the exam fee?

A. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards exam fee is $195.
The National Certification Exam of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork fee is $225.00.
Students will take one of these exams dependent on State regulations.

Q. How many questions are on the exam?

A. There are 125 multiple-choice questions on the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board Exam.
There are 160 multiple-choice questions on the National Certification Exam of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

Q. How much time is allowed to complete the exam?

A. The exam time limit is 2 1/2 hours

Q. What is a passing score?

A. To pass, a Scaled score of 630 out of 900 is needed on the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board Exam.
A scaled score of 300 is needed on the National Certification Exam of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

Q. Where can I take the exam?

A. The exam is administered, through Pearson VUE, at test centers across the U.S. that offer high-security.

Interested in learning the answers to these questions and more?

Contact us today.


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For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at http://www.everest.edu/disclosures.